Thursday, February 28, 2008

REAL LULU, photo & graphics set

Andy Valeri's been sending me some photos and other graphics over the last few weeks. Here's a set related to REAL LULU along with Andy's comments (click on the photos for larger versions):

The original REAL LULU flyer for the first round of the Canal Street Tavern 1994 band playoffs, which REAL LULU went on to win.

NEXT // A photo circa early 1996 of REAL LULU at CST backstage after show with friends IODINE from Nashville. IODINE was one of the best bands around at the time, and REAL LULU and CAGE played many a gig together with them during that run of it. Almost invariably when they would come through the area we would hook up with them, here or in Cincy, Columbus, Indy, etc... Drummer Brad Pemberton is holding up a copy of what was the newly available debut release by THE MULCHMEN "All The News That's Fit To Surf" (Gregg still playing regularly with REAL LULU at this time). Jay Joyce, IODINE guitarist, has made quite a name for himself in the production and studio session realm there. I know he did much of the guitar work on many of those Wallflower records back then, and a host of other things.

Jones adds... IODINE played melodic, emo-ish, post rock in the vein of JAWBOX or SEVERIN (but not like a carbon copy of those bands at all). I played with IODINE once in Cincinnati at SOURBELLY's worst show ever. It wasn't the worst because of IODINE though. A Cincinnati band called HOGSCRAPER closed the show. They were like a banjo and washtub bass duo with an absurdist redneck type bent. The singer/washtub player wore blackface and sort of mimicked a backwoods country preacher. It was fun for the first thirty minutes, but having already been through IODINE's set, I was pretty much all rawked out. So it wasn't long until I just wanted to get out of there, but HOGSCRAPER just kept going. They seemed to have an incredibly devout following in the bar that night and ended up playing until something like three in the morning. That may have been the longest two hours of my life. As I said, though, IODINE was great. And now back to Andy...

NEXT // Show flyer of quite a show, the KOMANDOZ OGC (with Brett Owsley, TC Carll, both whom played with John Shough. Brett now in Chicago with the ORGANIC GROOVE CONTINUUM, and also performed and recorded with THE LAWN JOCKEYS. TC played on most of Shough's stuff, and is now with the LAB PARTNERS). Of course, REAL LULU here and you are pretty familiar with the opener :)

It was the kind of show that Dayton was cool for, with the diversity of types of performances on one stage in one night. I believe this dates from 1998 if I remember correctly.

NEXT // REAL LULU press kit promo photo, featuring Jay Madewell (who performed with the band on a number of occassions, but never recorded with them).

The band body cartoons are all actual size, painted on a huge wood board by Dennis Williamson of HAUNTING SOULS. He also drew the back cover for the REAL LULU "We Love Nick" CD.

NEXT // Since the REAL LULU "Chief" video seems to be of recent interest, here are some photos of the band performing live on WYSO in Feb. 1997, on Jason Brazina's show (he had a program that followed the Rev Cool's Around The Fringe program for awhile. I think he had the very last student run program before they were all canned by the station admin, but don't quote me on that).

NEXT // Of particular note here is Steve Bognar, who was on site with us, shooting some film for footage later incorporated into the "Chief" video. If you watch the video, you'll clearly recognize live action shots from these scenes here.

NEXT // This radio show was the night before a big gig at Kelly Hall, featuring REAL LULU, MINK, THE TASTIES and THE INDICATORS, Nate Farley's and Mitch Mitchell's band, which eventually morphed into ROBTHEBANK.

Jones adds... that's it. Andy sent me a bunch of other stuff too -- will post at some point.

take care


Wednesday, February 27, 2008

AGNES MOOREHEAD PLATTER, s-t (cassette, 1990)

Although this band usually went by the acronym A-M-P, I always refused to refer to them that way. Why go to the trouble of coming up with a name with an obscure pop culture reference only to bury it in the initial letters of each word?


Richard Caesar Leonardi - vocals
Michael Dombroski - percussion
Dave Roberts - guitar
Scott Dvorak - guitar
Eric Humpert - bass

I saw these guys play at Canal Street Tavern a few times. I believe at least one of those times was in a band playoff round, and I'm sure I voted for them (somebody remind me to do an entry on band playoffs and what an utterly surreal experience that could be sometimes). For some reason, I think of AGNES MOOREHEAD PLATTER as a UD band, but I don't know for sure.

Actress Agnes Moorehead appeared in over a hundred films over the course of her career, most notably as Charles Foster Kane's mother in Citizen Kane. But you are most likely to remember her as Endora, the mortal-hating mother of witch Samantha Stevens on the '60s sitcom Bewitched.

But for this town, there's a little more to it than that (isn't there always with Dayton?). She was (still is) buried here in Memorial Park (after succumbing to uterine cancer in 1974 -- which itself is the subject of some controversy, many of her friends and Moorehead herself blaming the cancer on possible radiation exposure at a former nuclear testing site where she spent a few weeks on the set of The Conqueror 18 years earlier -- quoth Agnes on her deathbed, "I wish I'd never done that damn movie!"). But for the life of me (uhhh...) I can't figure out why she's here. She was born and raised in Massachusetts but lived and worked in Wisconsin, California, and any number of other places. Although she attended Muskingum College in New Concord and held property in Rix Mills (which had been in her family for five generations before being willed to Bob Jones University at her death), I haven't found any reason why she would be buried here in this town instead of those places. Not that her corpse shouldn't rest wherever it bloody well likes, mind you -- it's just odd to me. Ah well, another Dayton mystery to which, perhaps, the comments will provide the answer?

The music on the cassette is pretty solid alternative rock, comparable to similar stuff of the time: a little dancey, a little prog, a little rawkin' -- generally like a less self-absorbed and a little more loud version of THE CURE. Nothing earth-shattering (very little on this blog is), but good stuff, worth hearing again (or for the first time).

Track List:

1. Rudyard Kipling
2. Premium Paid
3. Agnes Moorehead Platter
4. Old Again
5. 1846

Download It! (28 MB) (link re-upped on 2-2-2013)

Produced by Phil Mehaffy at Cyberteknics in Dayton. Phil owned Cyberteknics and has done a lot of recording with Dayton bands over the years.

That's all I can say about AGNES MOOREHEAD PLATTER. Once again, feel free to fill in the blanks in the comments section.

take care


ps. As usual, I got the stuff on Agnes Moorehead from her Wikipedia entry. Great source for pop culture entertainment information -- shit for most else.

pps. At the beginning of this post, I said that AGNES MOOREHEAD PLATTER went by the "acronym" A-M-P. Thinking about it now, I realize that was slightly misleading. An acronym is a pronounced word formed from the initial letters of a phrase, but AGNES MOOREHEAD PLATTER wasn't called "amp." To be accurate, I should've said "abbreviation" (which is merely a shortened form of a word or phrase, but one that is not actually pronounced) since they were referred to as "A-M-P."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Off-Site: BIG BROWN HOUSE in The Antioch Adventure, Part 2 (video clip)

Mite posted this over at his YouTube site. It's a clip from the 1988 Antioch film The Antioch Adventure, Part 2, filmed on location in Yellow Springs, home of BIG BROWN HOUSE and THE GITS at the time. The music of BIG BROWN HOUSE is featured in this clip (and maybe some of the band members too, but I don't know what they look like, so I can't be sure -- Gail?).

When I posted BIG BROWN HOUSE's Scrappy James a couple of days ago, I wrongly reported that the Antioch Adventure movies were documentaries. But as I said in the comments, I looked into it a little further, and it appears that these are actually scripted stories with plot and characters and such.

If you go to Mite's YouTube site, you will also find the clip from Antioch Adventure, Part 2 that features THE GITS. Although that clip features less music than the BIG BROWN HOUSE clip, you will get to see Mia Zapata in what I assume is her first (perhaps only?) film acting gig (CORRECTION: after contacting the director of this film, Mite has determined that the girl in the clip is NOT Mia Zapata as he, I, and several other viewers first thought). A couple things about that clip:
  • The woman in the glasses on the left side of the third newspaper shown in the newspaper montage appears to be Daytonian academy award nominee Julia Reichert, who has taught in the film school at Wright State University since 1986. In 2003 she and Steve Bognar were nominated for an emmy for their documentary A Lion in the House. Her many film credits include, among others, Emma & Elvis (1992) (in which Scott Childress apparently had a brief speaking part) and the highly regarded documentary Seeing Red: Stories of American Communists (1983).
  • This doesn't have anything to do with the clip, but I thought I'd point out that although fucking Wikipedia contains entries under "Seeing Red" as the title of the debut album by a generic girlie pop-punk band and another as the title of an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there's no mention at all on Wikipedia of Julia Reichert's documentary -- which received a fucking academy award nomination for Christ's sake. And my students wonder why I tell them NOT to cite Wikipedia in a research paper. Fuck... Anyway, back to the clip...
  • On the very last shot of the newspaper montage (right before the clip ends), you might notice the name
    "Derwood Raintree." If you read the clipping (which isn't easy -- you have to pause it at just the right place to get a clear enough image), the article says Derwood Raintree was an actor in the first Antioch Adventure (1967), but IMDB lists Derwood Raintree as a character in that film played by actor John Draper.
  • People might disagree with me, but in my opinion, the Antioch campus hasn't changed one damn bit since 1988.
By the way, who's with me in pestering The Neon until they get The Gits Movie?

take care


Off-Site: THE GITS Movie, trailer

Here's a trailer for The Gits Movie, which appears to be complete and currently making visits to various film and music festivals around North America. The same YouTube site has other trailers and GITS live footage too.

As I mentioned in a comment to the BIG BROWN HOUSE post, it appears there may at least be some footage from Canal Street Tavern in the film somewhere. I would imagine there's other footage from THE GITS' time in Yellow Springs and Dayton as well.

I called both The Neon Movies and The Little Art to see if either of them had plans to get the movie at some point. Neither one answered the phone, and I don't leave messages with businesses who can't answer their own damn phones. I'll try again some other time. But the movie isn't mentioned on either web site, so they at least won't be getting it in the immediate future. This area has a pretty solid history of overlooking its own culture, so I guess we shouldn't be surprised.

take care


Saturday, February 23, 2008

BIG BROWN HOUSE, Scrappy James (cassette, 1987)

Before we begin, I just wanted to mention that Hillary Clinton is having a rally over at Kim Deal's old high school today. Doors open at 10 a.m. Bring your bass. (Bill already called sax.)

BIG BROWN HOUSE was an Antioch College band in the late '80s. I think OXYMORONS did a show with them once, but I don't remember.

And that's the full extent of my first hand BIG BROWN HOUSE knowledge.

However, Gail always liked these guys and was friends with at least one. She tells me that they often traded members back and forth with THE GITS, another Antioch band at the time that you might have heard of. Apparently, just about every member of BIG BROWN HOUSE played in THE GITS and vice-versa at one time or another -- except for Mia Zapata.

For the uninitiated, Antioch College is located in Yellow Springs, about ten miles outside of Dayton. In THE HIGHWAYMEN post, I'll be writing more about Yellow Springs and why Yellow Springs is considered part of the Dayton music scene (at least by everyone who does not live in Yellow Springs). But today I'll just talk about BIG BROWN HOUSE.

At the time Scrappy James was recorded (1987), BIG BROWN HOUSE was:

Benjamin London - guitars, vocals
Steve Moriarty - drums, vocals
Adrian Garver - bass
Roger Garufi - vocals

The music here is great just as music, but it's also interesting in sort of a historical sense. It's definitely post-punk, and with a hint of goth in the vocals -- very much late-'80s Miami Valley. But there's also the definite flavor of something we'd all start calling "emo" a few years later. This is music in transition. Considering that and THE GITS connection, this stuff deserves some kind of limited run CD rerelease (then again, I think you could say the same thing about TOOBA BLOOZE, THE HIGHWAYMEN, and a number of others on this blog).

This tape was recorded at Studio 716 in Ann Arbor, Michigan but subsequently remastered at SoundSpace in Yellow Springs. Chris Hertzler, who engineered the remastering, also engineered THE GITS cassette Private Lubs in 1988 (re-released in 1996 as Kings & Queens) and has since worked with DRY BRANCH FIRE SQUAD, THE CHRISTMAS JUG BAND, CRAZY JOE & THE MAD RIVER OUTLAWS, and THE CINCINNATI WOMEN'S CHORUS.

Years after this was recorded (1996, I think) when I was living in Yellow Springs and Larry Kampf was working at SoundSpace (which I'm pretty sure still exists today), my band HEIKE recorded a couple of songs out there. I must say that Larry somehow got the most powerful guitar sound I've ever heard out of that studio. Unfortunately, I've no idea what became of those tapes. Maybe Larry's still got 'em somewhere.

I know a lot of other local bands recorded things at SoundSpace but for the life of me I can't name a single one right now (except THE GITS, of course). It's a nice studio: a nice big room with separate booths attached -- good separation. SoundSpace used to do cassette duplication too, and they had a massive set-up for that. Before I saw it, I had never really thought about how cassettes were mass produced. You can't stamp them out like vinyl records or CDs. You have to basically record them all individually. At SoundSpace there was a big room with something like fifty individual cassette decks all linked to one master deck. You put in the master, and then I guess you loaded all the other machines with blanks and then you hit "play." I don't know why, but there was something eerie about that room. Grog liked it though. He saw all those decks lined up and couldn't help comparing it to the process he normally used to make all those OXYMORONS cassettes, which was exactly the process you'd think it was: he did them all one-by-one on his home stereo. I don't know about you, but that would've driven me batshit right around tape number thirty-four (and Grog made hundreds -- no wonder he's super-batshit).

I wonder what happened to all those cassette decks at SoundSpace. Probably sitting in a storage room somewhere -- or perhaps unloaded for cheap and written off their taxes as a business loss at some point (doubtful, though, since the tax code would've already allowed them to deduct the basis at a standard rate over the statutory life of the asset which was probably used up long before final disposition of the equipment -- then again, maybe section 2433 would have allowed them to... fuck! see what tax class does to you? don't ever go to law school...).

In 1989 BIG BROWN HOUSE and THE GITS moved to Seattle. I'll let BIG BROWN HOUSE guitar player/vocalist Ben London take it from here:
Suburban Voice #35 (1993)Ben: That's when I was in college . I went to Antioch College and I was in that band with a couple of guys who are in the Gits . We all went to school together and moved out to Seattle together in '89, when we graduated.

SY: Why Seattle?

Ben: We moved out with a large group of people and it was before the big music thing had really exploded. The only band I had ever heard of from Seattle was Soundgarden, and that was just because I was a college DJ at the time and got "Ultramega OK ." We'd done a lot of traveling and we were talking about wanting to be in a big city, after having gone to college in a tiny little town . New York was too expensive, San Francisco's so expensive, Chicago's so cold . Seattle, it seemed like it was really cheap to live out there and it had a nice climate and we had a couple of friends out there . It just happened that we got out there just about the time this whole thing was gearing up . When we first got out there, Mudhoney and a lot of the early Sub Pop bands were just starting . I missed out on the U-Men and Green River.

SY. : How long did Big Brown House stay together when you moved to Seattle?

Ben : About a year. We'd been playing the whole time when I was in college and when you're in college I guess you experiment with a lot of different styles. Once I got out there, I wasn't enjoying what we were doing . I was just playing guitar in that band and Steve and Matt were concentrating more on the Gits and I decided to get my own thing going, so I quit. I was working with Tommy, our bass player, at the time and kind of put the thing together from there.

---Suburban Voice #35 (1993)
You can read the rest of the interview here if you'd like. It's in PDF form, so you'll have to have Adobe Acrobat installed.

If he was a college DJ at Antioch, he was most likely on WYSO, Yellow Springs' public radio station. That station still exists, but I understand they stopped letting Antioch students be DJs some time in the mid-'90s.

After leaving BIG BROWN HOUSE, London formed ALCOHOL FUNNYCAR with then-BIG BROWN HOUSE bass player, Tommy Bonehead.

BIG BROWN HOUSE and THE GITS appeared in the 1987 documentary film, The Antioch Adventure, Part 2. The first Antioch Adventure followed certain Antioch students in 1967. The second did the same thing with then-current Antioch students twenty years later. You can read a little more about these films here. I read somewhere that one could once order both films through The Antioch Bookstore, but I checked their site and that no longer seems to be the case. However, if you go looking for the movies, it's probably a good place to start.

Track list:

1. Morning's Light
2. Face Down
3. Eight Dead Grandmothers
4. Snacked on by the Bugs from Hell
5. 76 on 70
6. No Ball Games
7. Sawblades
8. Menudo on the Edge (of Town)
9. Wet Metro Stop
10. Vertical Hold
11. Immaterial

Download it! (60 MB) (re-upped on 2-2-2013)

The cassette insert contains the lyrics for "Vertical Hold" but none of the other tracks.

The copy I ripped has the labels on the wrong sides. I don't know why I consider that significant enough to mention.

This recording comes to us from the deepest recesses of the Gail Dafler Collection.

UPDATE (2-2-2013): The downloadable file contains only the MP3s.  There are no scans of the cover, cassette, or insert.  Unfortunately, I can't find those files right now.  But so many people have been asking for this one, I thought re-upping without the scans would be okay for now.  When I find those scans, I'll add them to the zip-file and re-up this again.  But until then, you'll have to be content with just the recordings.

Other than this cassette, BIG BROWN HOUSE had one other release that I know of: a sort of compilation cassette of outtakes, live stuff, and oddities released in 1989, shortly before the band left for Seattle. I will, of course, be sharing that one.

The only other extant recordings by this band are a pair of songs on Bobbing for Pavement, The Rathouse Compilation CD released in 1994 (long after BIG BROWN HOUSE broke up). The two songs are "The Raft" and "Another Drunken Winter," which is also on the other BIG BROWN HOUSE cassette. I haven't heard Bobbing for Pavement, so I don't know if the version on the comp is the same as the one on the cassette. The compilation also features two songs from THE GITS, two songs from HAMMERBOX, and various others. It's out of print, but you can get it dirt cheap ($3.33!) from some Amazon Sellers.

And that's it for now. Enjoy!

take care


ps. If you're unfamiliar with the tragic tale of Mia Zapata, check her Wikipedia entry. Check the links at the bottom too. Apparently, there's a GITS movie in the works.

pps. In case anyone's wondering, I have nothing to share from THE GITS, and unless someone has a taped live show or practice or something to that effect, I won't be sharing anything by them here. I haven't checked thoroughly, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that everything they recorded is still in print and easily available via the web. In fact, the 1996 GITS demos collection Kings & Queens is a re-release of a 1988 cassette Private Lubs, most of which was recorded at SoundSpace, with one track ("Graveyard Blues") recorded at Canal Street Tavern. You can get the CD from CD Universe. You can download the MP3s from e-music.

ppps. Believe it or not, this post really is about BIG BROWN HOUSE.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Let me say this: the phrase "Guided by Voices" may very well be one of the best band names of all time -- near genius use of language to title a music group. It's got rhythm. It's got depth. But not too much of either. I love it.

But otherwise, I honestly never thought much of GUIDED BY VOICES. I never got the whole craze surrounding them. I mean, it's good rock and roll, but if I have to hear one more GBV fan tell me what a genius Bob Pollard is, I'm gonna plotz. Maybe what I need to do is download all their stuff from some file-sharing service and just listen to it over and over until I love it so much that I would drink their dirty bathwater. Maybe that's the way to go.

Anyway, I ran across this page over at the old GBV site full of MP3s just sitting there waiting for download by some uninformed fan. If you fit that description, no need to thank me.

take care


ps. In case you're wondering, the absolute worst band name of all time is (drum roll...) FILTER.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Off-Site: Dayton Punkhouse Documentary (1987)

One great thing about doing this blog is that through it I've discovered that I'm not the only person infected with the obsession to catalog the history of this town's bizarre musical subcultures. Witness:

Found this through Buckwheat's blog over at MySpace. For those who don't know (and I didn't until a couple of weeks ago), Mister Wheat (and 10,000 potato points to anyone who gets the "Mister Wheat" allusion) was a regular Dayton music hanger-outer type in the late '80s. In that time he took a lot of photos and has been posting many on his MySpace and Flickr sites -- great stuff if you're at all interested in what was going on in Dayton twenty years ago.

I'm pretty sure the house featured in this footage is the old punkhouse next door to the building lounge on third street. The guy mainly featured is Scott Childress (apologies if I spelled his name wrong). I'm sure I met him a few times, but I can't say I knew him well -- same goes for most of the other people in the video. This is just slightly before my time. I recognize faces, but for most, I don't remember names. The only one I was closely associated with was Jason Himes. If you recognize any of these people, please add your observations to the comments section.

Anyway, the video has degraded quite a bit, but it nonetheless remains a great document of what the hardcore crusties were up to back in '87. I find it especially interesting because, although I would sometimes go hang out among this little subculture (I have a vivid recollection of watching the first episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation in this very house on the same night I also went next door and saw THE MEMBRANES), I was never close to being a part of it. It's kind of fun to see now what I missed then (even if it's on 20 year old, degraded VHS). All in all, this sort of has a Decline of Western Civilization flavor -- but it's decidedly Dayton.

take care


Saturday, February 16, 2008

THE PLEASURES PALE, s/t (12" vinyl LP, 1987)

My turntable is shit -- total shit.  [UPDATE 2-12-2013 -- I have a better one.  Ignore this and the next couple of paragraphs.] It's part of a GPX combo purchased at Best Buy for $40 in 1995 (my mom actually bought it for me -- no shit). While the cassette deck on that combo delivers decent sound, the signal from the turntable sounds like it's coming through Alan Sherman's "Japanese transistor radio" and finally received by The Professor on Gilligan's Island with the little white ear-piece stuck in his ear -- but only as Mary Ann would hear it standing on tip-toes (to push her breasts out) next to him.

I did a lot of processing to boost the overall presence, and I think I made some headway. But for now, vinyl rips on this blog will be notably weaker than cassette rips. When I get a better turntable (summer maybe?), I promise I'll re-rip and re-post all the vinyl.

Anyway, there's little I can tell you first-hand about THE PLEASURES PALE. I never saw them live, but they were quite popular in Dayton around 1986-87 -- I'd venture more popular than GUIDED BY VOICES at the time. The bass player, Luis Lerma, was (with his brother Tere) later in the THE TASTIES in the mid-'90s. At least one of the Lermas was in FRANKENSTEIN'S KIND in 1988. Both have been around Dayton forever, playing music, making movies, and doing god knows what else--occasionally assisted by older brother Larry (who I actually know a little better than his younger brothers) and others. But I can't tell you what bands either of them is currently in (if any). Perhaps you can tell me.

I used to play this LP a lot when I was at WWSU. My favorites were always the two that mentioned Dayton: "it could be heaven just as well" and "my town has no cafes." The latter would, I think, make a fine anthem for the Gem City. Check out some of the more appropriate lines:
in a place i'll call 'nowhere'...

my town has no cafes
no place for us to say,
'we're tired, so tired, of the same dead things'

down in my familiar gutter
with nothing left to utter
it's late, it's late, late, late Dayton
It's not exactly T.S. Eliot (okay, it's not even Elliott Smith), and the average Daytonian may find it difficult to sing at Dragons games. But if poetic aptitude and vocal accessibility were prerequisites for an anthem, do you really think people would've put up with "The Star Spangled Banner" for two centuries?

(then again, maybe TOXIC REASONS' "Ghost Town" would make a better Dayton anthem? no money... no fun... Yeah, that's what I'd pick. Ah, but who am I kidding? If Dayton ever adopts an anthem, it'll probably be something by GUIDED BY VOICES -- or ALAN THICKE...)

The music here is fairly straight-up mid-'80s new wave: heavily flanged guitars, cavernous reverb, esoteric lyrics--reminiscient of THE CURE, NEW ORDER, and THE SMITHS (though with a few nods toward rock-a-billy and mod rock, which sets them apart from most of their cookie-cutter contemporaries). Call it shoegazer, call it goth-pop, call it alternative. Whatever... you'll get a definite time-capsule vibe off this.

This LP was released on Cincinnati-based Heresy Records, which makes it an oddity among Dayton releases of that era. This is the only release I know of from Heresy. Most Dayton bands in the late '80s were releasing either on IWanna Records (TOOBA BLOOZE, THE OBVIOUS, THE HIGHWAYMEN) or under their own imprimatur (MOM, POETIC JUSTICE, BIG BROWN HOUSE).


Jeffrey Bright - singer
Mitchell Swann - guitarist
Luis Lerma - bass guitarist
Jeff Keating - drummer

The only other thing I can tell you about THE PLEASURES PALE is that "Lovely! Lovely!" appeared on the WWSU 4-Play record in 1987 and that Mitchell Swan apparently played in GUIDED BY VOICES in 1983 (or so I gather from this article from the Boston Phoenix). Even the GUIDED BY VOICES Wikipedia page missed that one.

The Boston Phoenix article also refers to THE PLEASURES PALE as "SMITHS-clones." I think that's a little too dismissive. Okay, they didn't break any new ground here, but Morrisey's overwrought sense of maudlin is (thankfully) absent. If nothing else, I can appreciate that.

Although popular here and elsewhere, THE PLEASURES PALE weren't everyone's cup of tea. Witness...
"Weak-kneed pop of all styles--from Byrdsy twang to Smiths-like laments to wimpy country to fey rockabilly. No bite, nothing to move me, except to move the needle. They even ask, on one song, 'so what is a sissy?' Look in the mirror, pal!"
---Suburban Voice #24 (1987)
About the rip, the end of track 9 has an a capella vocal by a woman who's not credited anywhere on the album. Right at the end of that portion, the vinyl has a bad repeater scratch that I couldn't work through. So I let it repeat three or four times and just faded the track out. It's not what the band intended, but I thought it sounded kind of cool. I liked it so much that I added a track at the end reprising the skip a few times with some additional flange and ambience. It fades up and then down in about 20 seconds.  [UPDATE 2-12-2013: On the re-rip this same skip made it impossible for me to get a good recording of the song immediately following it.  That song is "Lovely, Lovely," which also appeared on the WWSU 4-Play record.  To me, the two recordings sound identical, so I swapped out the crappy rip of "Lovely, Lovely" from this 12" and replaced it with the version from the WWSU record.]

My scanner is only 8.5" x 11", which is obviously too small to do this 12" sleeve--even in two passes. So there's no scans included in the download package. The best I could come up with is a photo of the sleeve, insert, and poster that I ripped off this ebay ad. To pay the seller back, here's a link to the ad where you can buy this record for $24.77 plus $4.50 for shipping and handling (Jesus Christ! $29.27 for this?!?!?! -- Gail got hers for a buck... I guess if you can work in a GUIDED BY VOICES connection (check the ad), you can jack up the price on anything!).

[UPDATE 2-12-2013: The lovely Teresa Winner was kind enough to take some photos of the cover, insert, and poster on her iPad.  Those pictures are included in this download.  The photos, however, are not high enough resolution to make the lyrics legible, so for those who want to read the lyrics, I made higher resolution scans of them.  Those are also included in this download.]

This record comes to us courtesy of the Gail Dafler collection. Gail wants to know if the kid in the poster is one of the Lerma boys. Anybody know?

Track List:

1. no, joy
2. my town has no cafes
3. in my dandelion field
4. monday mourn
5. love bites back sorely
6. uneasy's disease
7. all about men
8. a heavy coat of jokes
9. but she didn't
10. lovely! lovely!11. be
12. it could be heaven just as well
13. [uncredited female vocal (reprise)]

Download it! (63 MB) (line re-upped 2-12-2013)

UPDATE 2-12-2013: This is a new rip on better equipment -- worth getting even if you already downloaded the previous one.

Okay then, let's recap: the vinyl rip is shitty [UPDATE 2-12-2013: not anymore], The Boston Globe called them "Smiths clones," Suburban Voice called them sissies, and I compared their lyrics unfavorably to Elliott Smith's (and I don't even like Elliott Smith -- now there's a sissy for ya...). Is there any more abuse that my blog could possibly assist this cruel world in heaping on this utterly inoffensive (and not half-bad) pop combo from twenty years ago?

Oh yeah... I just noticed: that ebay ad I mentioned? It refers to them as "The Pleasures Principle." son of a bitch...

If anyone can tell me anything more about THE PLEASURES PRINCI-- uh... I mean, THE PLEASURES PALE, post a comment. I'm all ears.

take care


ps. I got the flyer scan from Don't you love it: "Dayton Invasion!"? (I came this close to renaming the blog...). And can you believe $2 to see GUIDED BY VOICES and RHINO 39? Those were the days... That show took place on January 11, 1986. RHINO 39 was incredibly popular 'round these parts as I remember, though they hailed from Los Angeles. They played a fairly original melding of punk and new wave. For more info, you can check their MySpace page. You can download RHINO 39's 1979 seven-inch record "Prolixin Stomp" over at the mind-poppingly expansive music blog Killed by Death Records. But be warned, KBD is more addictive than crack (and only slightly less addictive than nicotine). You'll download one record, then another, and another... soon you're out on the street trying to score LEATHER NUN MP3s... and before you know it, you're strung out on '77, pal!

pps. Don't confuse the punk (i.e. good) RHINO 39 formed in the '70s in L.A. with the heavy metal (i.e. heavy metal?) RHINO 39 formed in the '90s in Chicago.

[CORRECTION]: Okay, I noticed the flyer said "THREE area bands!" So I did a little digging and found out that the RHINO 39 that played that show was NOT the L.A. RHINO 39 (who, in fact, are really from Long Beach). No, there was a Dayton band called RHINO 39, which was actually my first impression, but when I found the California RHINO 39, I just assumed I was mistaken. Okay, so we've established that there was a Dayton RHINO 39. Now all I need do is locate some music by them. By the way, here's a link to a Dayton Voice article and an entry on someone else's blog, both of which mention the Dayton RHINO 39.

ppps. My next band is going to be called THE PLEASURES PRINCIPLE! (wasn't there a Star Trek episode called "The Pleasure Principle"?)

pppps. Goddammit? How long does it take to upload something to Rapidshare? The little progress bar reached 100% forty-five minutes ago, and it's just been sitting there like a dumb shit ever since! I gotta find a new host... Okay, there it goes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BEN SCHELKER, Gimme Schelker! (unofficial, cassette, 1991)

I actually didn't write this originally for this blog. I'm not sure what I wrote it for. But it also seems applicable here, especially since it helps me solve a little problem that's been nagging me about this blog.

Last September, Gail dropped off a number of records and tapes with me for the blog. Among them was a tape of a solo show that Ben Schelker had done long ago (1991 is my best guess) at Canal Street Tavern's Tuesday night Musician's Co-op. I had planned on posting that show on the ten-year anniversary of his death last November, but my law school commitments were simply out of control at that time. So I put it off. Since then, I've been meaning to post it, but it didn't feel right posting it without some kind of write-up about what Ben meant to me and us and all of us. But then every time I tried to write something on that, nothing would come out -- or at least nothing that didn't terribly underestimate the impact Ben had on our lives or overstate the whole drama of the thing.

But then I wrote this which, as I said, is not entirely congruent with what this post is supposed to be about. Truth be told, it's not entirely about Ben. I've tried to make alterations to bring this more in line, but that didn't work. Still, it's closer to the heart of the matter than anything else I've written and deleted so far. Anyway, here it is:
In the fall of 1991 (I think -- might've been '92 -- this old man's memory does fail him sometimes) my old band the Oxymorons went on tour. We did two dates in Minneapolis: one at the THD Punkhouse on a Friday and another at the 7th Street Entry the next night.

The night before we were to go to Minneapolis, we were somewhere in Wisconsin and pulled off at a truck stop around midnight. I don't remember why, but that night we couldn't go any farther. Maybe we were out of gas, or maybe the van needed some part, or maybe we were all just too tired to drive any more -- don't remember. But the place we parked wasn't just a truck stop, it was a mega-truck-and-travellers' stop with a parking lot the size of three football fields (and isn't it interesting how we often define the size of flat places where people don't gather in terms of football fields?) and a big facility with a full service restaurant, bathrooms, showers, video arcade -- and a convenience store with all the necessities: auto parts, clothing, air fresheners, junk food, pirated video tapes, yeah... Funny thing, though: the place was practically deserted. Ours was one of maybe ten vehicles in that massive parking lot. The facility itself was open, but the store, the restaurant, even the arcade were all dark. Except for a couple of security guards and maintenance people, nothing moved.

For some reason, I was feeling just awful about the band that night. We had just gotten off a two or three day layover in Madison -- two shows had been cancelled, and we were hundreds of miles from home with no money to do anything, so we lay around this generous kid's house playing his Nintendo, eating his macaroni, and drinking his beer (though for some reason, we had gallons of vodka of our own). I was sick of Grog, sick of Nick, sick of Ben, sick of Jen (Grog's girlfriend, who was roadying for us at the time), sick of playing to empty rooms, sick of scraping by, sick of making crappy records, sick of the bands we played with -- sick, even, of the seemingly endless columns of empty faces watching us as we played (which seems to contradict what I said about playing to empty rooms -- and it does, but like anyone, when I'm down on something, I can't help but embrace even the contradictions if they depress me more).

Everybody slept in the van except me. I tried, but it was fucking cold. Except for one night we spent in the van in the middle of a snowstorm outside Ann Arbor, Michigan, I've never been that cold in my life, even though it was only fall. And I was too wound up to sleep anyway. I spent most of the night wandering around that dark, empty place -- smoking cigarettes, drawing occasional stares from the few employees. My hair was fucked up. I must've had bags under my eyes. Hadn't eaten in at least a day. And I was wearing a dark blue jacket upon the back of which I had hastily scrawled in yellow paint, "I NEED SOUL!" (fitting caption to a white boy from Dayton at the time -- probably even more true today than it was then) I don't really know what they were thinking, but I imagined all sorts of terrible things. For those few hours, I really felt disconnected from everything, and I would say that I just wanted to go home, except that I felt I was already there -- home in this gigantic, empty waystation for others who were all on their way to better places. I hated every goddamn one of them.

Anyway, probably around 5 a.m., the restaurant opened up. I sat down and spent my last 80 cents on a bottomless cup of coffee and sat there smoking for a while. Eventually, Nick came through the door and sat down across from me, then Ben, then Grog and Jen. We sat there, pretty much in silence, for a little while, and then we went back to the van. Grog started it up. Perhaps he'd got the part we needed or maybe we got gas or whatever it was to get us going again, but we were off. Honestly, at that moment, I don't know why I got in. I felt like a zombie, just shuffling off to wherever.

But after a while, we came over this rise, and there were the Twin Cities: Minneapolis-St. Paul -- just laid out before us. I don't know if we'd been riding in silence or if I just hadn't noticed the tape, but suddenly I heard The Replacements -- a band we'd all worshipped for years, a band that was based in the Twin Cities. I thought of Husker Du and Soul Asylum, two other bands we all loved that had also come from this place we were driving into now. I thought of Mary Tyler Moore and the Mississippi river. I saw the sun rising behind those cities, and it seemed that this place that we'd all heard so much about in the music we loved had invited us to come there.

That night, we played one badass set at the THD House. It was in a basement, and I swear it was packed wall-to-wall. People were crowding on the stairs. It was hot, and there was one lightbulb on a chain swinging over Ben's head (I think he clocked himself on it once or twice). And we were loud as fuck.

After it was over, we packed up while Grog went to see about money. People were coming in and out of that house and the next band was blaring away. Unlike other nights, we didn't have to pack up right after the set because we were staying on THD's floor. Ben and I grabbed some beers and just started walking down the block. At first there were some people in tow, but as we kept walking, they got fewer and fewer. Eventually, it was just us. We stopped when we saw this metal bridge over the river to our left (I'm not sure if it was the Mississippi -- maybe a smaller tributary).

We went out on that bridge and dropped the empty beers into the water (littering motherfuckers...). We had been talking a mile a minute about the band, about music, about Minneapolis, about everything -- but after a minute or two on that bridge, we just stopped. I looked at the sky and the stars and the water. I looked at the black street, strangely empty of cars or people now. I thought of Minneapolis and the bands we loved -- all of whom were probably the main reasons we were there at that place in that moment. I heard factories, and I thought of how at this hour, they must be running largely automatically -- machines dutifully building things, with only a couple of human beings there to watch over them. I thought of John Berryman, who was a poet who killed himself by jumping off a bridge in Minneapolis. I don't know why I thought of him, but I said nothing about it. And I said nothing about how I felt so connected right then and there to the city and all cities and all the machinery and people and the white noise they all make together. Had I put my ear to the ground, I believe I could've heard things happening on the other side of the world. There was water, and there were voices.

Six years later, Ben was dead, and I told this story as part of his eulogy while his body lay in a coffin about six or seven feet from the lectern at which I stood. Then the priest (it was a Catholic funeral) closed the mass, and we carried Ben's coffin down the aisle and out to the hearse. It was heavy, and I took ibuprofen later because I thought I pulled a muscle in my right arm. I've sometimes wondered if I will sleep and awaken on that bridge.

There's an Aristotlean term, in media res, which he used to describe a literary device for how epic poems usually open. It means "in the middle of things." For example, The Odyssey begins at a point halfway through the overall plot, and then it backtracks to the beginning and goes from there until it eventually arrives at where it started about halfway through the length of the poem. Then it tells the rest of the story. We, among us, live in media res. We go forward and back and arrive at the middle, which looks like the beginning, but it's only half. Each of us is the sum he has not counted: subtract us back through nakedness and night and you will see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas. There's a good life, in the meantime.

I've been typing very fast and haven't eaten anything all day.
Grog gave me a tape with the THD House show on it, and I've ripped it. But as I said, that's not what I'm posting today. Today's download is Ben's Musician's Co-op show that Gail taped long ago. I haven't chopped it into song-by-song tracks because I figure, if anyone listens to the music on this blog, they're probably listening on a computer, iPod, or other MP3 player -- none of which seem capable of playing tracks without a two-second pause in between. For this show, that simply won't do.

Of course, this was never released, but I decided to give it a name of it's own. And I have chosen Gimme Schelker because Ben used to joke about how if he ever did a solo album, that's what he would call it. I want to make it clear that he was joking because all of us generally considered the idea of solo albums in general as a bit silly. I mean, maybe Paul Westerberg can get away with it (and even then I'm not sure -- Gail is his biggest fan and even she seems to be on the edge of laughing whenever she mentions him in his capacity as a solo), but nobody else -- not Bob Mould, not Ryan Adams, not Jeff Buckley. I mean, come on guys: get a band! Even dead Ben Schelker can't really get away with it, but death is probably the ultimate defense to ridicule, and even if it's not, Ben drank ridicule like he drank Wild Irish Rose -- his unique gift being that both seemed to have the same effect on him. So be it.

Song List:

Wasting My Time
Pleasant Distraction
Day of Reckoning
Diner Song
Survival Kit for the Lonely
Taoist Lumberjack

Download It! (34 MB)

Recorded by Gail Dafler on a handheld cassette recorder in 1991 (I think).

As you can see, there's one song on here I don't remember the title of. In fact, I have no recollection of this song whatsoever. I know it never became an OXYMORONS song. If you happen to know the title, post something in the comments section.

It's not the best show he ever played, but it is full of false starts, errant tuning, and mumbled lyrics where Ben couldn't think of anything better. It's Ben. Gimme...

As I said before, this is a Musician's Co-op show. Until recently, Musician's Co-op was a long standing tradition at Canal Street Tavern during which every Tuesday night, anyone who wanted to could take the stage and play pretty much whatever and however they wanted for 30 minutes. I understand Musician's Co-op was discontinued last March (although Mick has hinted that this may not be a permanent thing -- let's hope so), but in the years before that, Canal Street hosted any number of unpaid solo performers ranging from seasoned local musicians just playing for fun to all sorts of wonderful oddballs and talentless jerk-offs. I've got one or two more Musician's Co-op shows on tape, and I'll post them and more information about that whole deal at some point in the future.

More music coming up on Saturday or Sunday. Until then...

take care


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Myspace stuff...

I recently revived my Myspace page -- and by the way isn't "My Myspace" an incredibly awkward construction? Have you ever heard anyone say it out loud without having to say it at least twice to get the point across? You'd think Tom or somebody would've thought of that when they were kicking around domain names (then again, you'd have also thought they would get technical people who know what they're doing, and they sure as fuck didn't do that!

But where was I? Oh yeah, my Myspace (dammit...) page. Yeah, I got it like two years ago at the same time Chuck and I built The Vectors' Myspace page (which seems to have simply disappeared at some point). Then I forgot about it. Then I remembered it for a couple months about a year later. Then I forgot about it again until a few weeks ago. So yeah, I revived m--, I mean, I uh... I revived that page.

Anyway, the informative point of this post is threefold (god I love compounds that end in "-fold" -- "billfold," "gatefold," "three-, four-, five-, sixty-seven-, eight hundred-ninety-nine-fold"):

1. I ran across the REAL LULU Myspace page, where I found the song "Chief" (as in the video Mite posted yesterday at YouTube) available for download. I added it to my page, so if you go there, you can hear it. And if you click on my little player thinger (left side of the page -- can't miss it), you'll get to the REAL LULU page where you can download it and another song too.

2. If you browse through my paltry friends list, you might find a familiar Dayton face or two (in case anybody's looking for anybody) as well as a few Dayton bands from days of yore and today (most with downloadable music).

3. If you have a Myspace account, you better fucking friend me while you're there, dammit! Yeah, much as I'm dubious about the cultural value of the Myspace image, I have to admit that it makes it very easy for a natural loner like myself (who's absolutely awful at staying in touch) to keep up with people that I sincerely would like to keep up with.

Anyway, that's it.

We have a special treat coming up for posting on Tuesday (which happens to be my 39th birthday). Yes, it's an extra-extra-long post and really crappy quality recording from that most beloved of all departed Daytonians, BEN SCHELKER (who?...).

Until then...


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Off-Site: REAL LULU, "Chief" video at YouTube

Mike Kilbourne (a.k.a. "Mite" -- who used to work at WWSU and later co-edited MUTANT RENEGADE ZINE with Grog) put this video for the REAL LULU song "Chief" up over at YouTube. As of this writing, it's the only video up there, but by the time you read this, there may be more. If not, Mite has informed me that there's more coming soon (UPDATE: looks there's a MORELLA'S FOREST video there too now).

The video features the talents of Kattie Dougherty (voice, guitar), Sharon Gavlick (voice, bass), and Jim MacPherson (drums). Most of you probably already know that Jim played in THE BREEDERS during the Last Splash era. He also drummed with THE KILLJOYS (a.k.a. THE RAGING MANTRAS) from approximately 1988-1992. In addition to REAL LULU, I'm sure he played with some other Dayton bands in the late '90s, but I don't know specifics on that.

As I remember, Kattie did some brief guitar service in THE BREEDERS. She was also the original singer for THE PURE PLASTIC TREE, and she and I did a handful of acoustic shows together at Canal Street's Musician's Co-op oh so long ago.

I don't know what other bands Sharon might have been in, but having been married to Andy Valeri for a while, it wouldn't surprise me to learn she did a lot of work down at Miami Valley Cable Council.

The video was directed by Steve Bognar, of whom I have only the vaguest impression. I'm sure I met him at some point or other and saw more than one of his films at the many indie film events at the Neon Movies I used to go to. To be sure, Dayton's contributions to indie film and video deserve a decent blog or other chronicle of their own somewhere, but my involvement with all that extends no further than a ten-week intro-to-film course at Wright State University back in '92 -- and I'm pretty sure I didn't even pass. Anyway, Steve's been involved with a number of film projects around here and elsewhere. No doubt you can find out more with a Google search if you want to.

Anyway, it's good to know someone's finally getting around to posting some Dayton indie rock video over at YouTube. Once again, however, I will urge Grog, Andy Valeri, and that bastard TOM FUCKING CARTER to get their asses in gear and follow Mite's example.

take care


Thursday, February 7, 2008

Off-Site: Drexel Dave's Videos & Photos from the Real Streets of Dayton

Well, I guess I kind of gave away everything in the title, but when did that ever stop me from talking...

Found this over at Melissa's blog, TwoFortyPlusGood, which itself provides some amusing insights from one of Dayton's own originals.

Anyway, I'm pointing you toward Dave Drexel's blog featuring photographs and videos about stuff in Dayton that Dave finds interesting. If you click on the videos there, you'll go to Dave's YouTube site and find more of the same.

Dave Drexel is an artist and musician and all-around goofy school bus driver who, I think, understands even better than I do the mystical but decidedly perverse nature of this funny little cesspool we call the Greater Dayton and Miami Valley region.

If you ever get a chance to see his band DREXEL, don't pass it up. In the meantime, enjoy the photos and videos over at his blog if you too would like to see something of the depressing absurdity that seeps into everything that goes on in this town. The photos are kind of strange, and the videos only stranger. But just like Tim Taylor and Jonathan Winters and Gordon Jump, Dave's an engaging personality with a really fucked up head on his shoulders. Where does this town get 'em? And why do they stay?

Dave Drexel's Photos and Videos from the Real Streets of Dayton isn't updated nearly as often as it should be, but there's enough there at this point to keep you occupied for a bit.

NOTE: Melissa fucked up the link to Dave's blog in her links section, so it won't go properly if you try to do it from there. I, of course, will assume the proper air of smirking superiority when I inform her of it, but until she fixes it, the link in the previous paragraph works just fine. (UPDATE: it works now)

take care


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Off-Site: Dayton bands at the AllMusic guide...

So I was dicking around over at the AllMusic site and just started typing in names of bands and people from Dayton indie rock. Most returned some kind of result, but only a few included a write-up. I've listed those that returned such a result below (along with corrections where I know AllMusic got it wrong):

TROY CAMPBELL - Troy Campbell was basically the creative force behind THE HIGHWAYMEN. I have a couple of recordings by them that I'll post at some point, but I never met or played with any of these guys. They had relocated to Austin before I really knew who they were. Still, I saw them play once at Canal Street Tavern about a year after they left -- great live show. The only thing I would venture on this article is that I always thought THE HIGHWAYMEN left Dayton in 1988, but the bio puts it in 1989.

BRAINIAC - One correction:
  • Tim wasn't driving home from the studio when he was killed. He was driving home from the closing night party of 1470 West, which was both a gay club and a modern rock dance club, depending on which night of the week you went there (there tended to be a lot of crossover, and everybody knew it, so if you were straight and you got hit on by a homosexual, you just had to politely decline -- and no, Tim was not gay). The club was moving to a new location downtown. There's been a lot of unfounded speculation about what caused the accident, and although I don't usually mind reporting rumors, it seems crass to do so in this case. I really didn't know Tim that well, except to say "hello" on occasion.
THE OXYMORONS - Okay, this was the strangest result of all. Not only is there a very complimentary biography (thank you Uncle Dave Lewis), but I actually learned something about my own band that I never knew before. Apparently, we appeared on some kind of indie rock compilation on Shredder Records in 1997 (three years after we broke up). The cover of our first seven-inch record is even reproduced on the cover of the compilation, and our song ("Unearthing Your Grave," which I've always thought was the best thing we ever recorded) is the first track. I had no idea...Again, I think the bio is great (my head is expanding as I type), but I do have a couple of corrections (no offense at all to Uncle Dave):
  • Although D.O.A. certainly played in Dayton and hung out with TOXIC REASONS frequently enough to convince the casual observer that they were from this town, they weren't. They were, of course, from Vancouver.
  • When Ben's dad found his body (through what must be one of the cruelest coincidences of all time -- Dumb Dayton Luck strikes again...), he wasn't taking him back to Dayton for a family outing. The two of them were going to drive to New York (where Ben had lived the previous couple of years) to pick up his stuff and bring it back home.
  • Dancing on Billy's Grave was a regular CD release (our third full-length if you count the first two cassettes), not a compilation of our stuff.

Anyway, other than that, the bio is spot on. Thanks again, Uncle Dave.

THE MULCHMEN - The MULCHMEN were a surf rock combo in the '90s featuring Nick Kizirnis (guitar, theremin), Gregg Spence (drums, and Brian Hogarth (bass). I've got their 7" (All the News That's Fit to Surf). No corrections on this one.

JOHN SHOUGH - Nothing to add except that John is probably the best engineer I ever recorded with.

LAB PARTNERS - Good band still currently playing around Dayton. They're great, but I won't be posting anything by them (though you can hear their stuff at the LAB PARTNERS myspace page).

REAL LULU - One correction:
  • The bio seems to imply that Jim Macpherson played drums on We Love Nick, but that's only 1/7 true. Gregg Spence is listed as the official drummer. He played on 7 of the fourteen tracks. Jim and Steve Johnson each played on two tracks. Drummers on the remaining three tracks were Ben, Matt Espy, and Tim Taylor.
take care


Sunday, February 3, 2008

GREGG SPENCE, 3 songs (cassette, unofficial, 1989)

There's little I can say about Gregg that I didn't already say in THE UNDERDOGS post, or that you can't read in these articles at the Big Beef Records site. So I'll just give you some background on the three songs here.

The songs were recorded some time in 1989 at Cro-Magnon studios, engineered by Joe Buben. Gregg did these for submission to Bob Moore's Breathe on the Living LP project. This was a double-LP (with an extra LP of outtakes that contributors received) of music, spoken word, poetry, noise, etc. that Bob compiled and released as the Spring Quarter '89 issue of Wright State University's literary magazine Nexus. Also representing Dayton on that record were THE OXYMORONS, CHRIS POSPISIL, and LAURA AND LARRY ALBRECHT. When I get a better turntable, I'll rip all three discs I have and post it.

Gregg is playing his trusty blue Rickenbacker semi-hollow, which is the only guitar I ever saw him play except for one time at PJ's underground when he played my guitar for an impromptu performance of "Righteous Tune" with Ian and Ben at an OXYMORONS show. That's where the photos came from (I don't have any photos of Gregg playing his Rickenbacker). In the one at the top, that's Gregg in the foreground and Ian Uppstrom in the background (Ian's playing Grog's bass); Ben must be behind the drums. In the other one, Gregg is on the left while Ben (foreground) and Grog (background) are on the right. OXYMORONS used to cover "One of the Boys" by Mott the Hoople, which was a favorite of Gregg's, so I'm guessing that's what we're playing in that photo. These photos were most likely taken in the fall of 1989 (NOTE: I scanned these at 300 dpi, so they'll get a lot bigger if you click on them).

"Dribble Glass" is the one Bob chose for the LP. The lyrics to this song had been published as a poem in the Fall 1988 issue of Nexus.

"Rich Kid Avenue" later appeared on a CD comp called Hydroponic Mascara, vol. 2. I once asked Gregg what he meant by "my tires are painting the pavement blue." He said he had no idea.

"Nineteen" was an UNDERDOGS' song. As far as I know, this version was never released anywhere. This has always been my favorite Gregg Spence song. About a year before Gregg's death, Andy Valeri organized a benefit show for him at the downtown 1470. My old band HEIKE played a set and closed with this song. I believe there's a video tape of that show floating around somewhere.

Speaking of which, I know that Andy, Grog, and especially Tom Carter have tons of video relevant to this period in Dayton music history. Hey guys, ever heard of YouTube? What the fuck?

When Gregg gave Bob the tape of these songs to listen to, I made a copy for myself down at WSU's secondary studio. So I believe this would be second generation from the original reels. I put them on the same cassette that had my master copy of the first OXYMORONS tape, and they've been sitting there ever since.

Track List:

1. Dribble Glass
2. Rich Kid Avenue
3. Nineteen

Download It! (10 MB) (link re-upped 2-1-2013)

Gregg, of course, had dozens (if not hundreds) of other songs he did when he played solo shows around town. Of the few covers he used to do at those shows, I specifically recollect "A New England" by Billy Bragg and "Watching the Detectives" by Elvis Costello (and I'm sure there was some Richard Thompson in there too). No doubt somebody somewhere has at least one of those shows on tape. If it's you, please come forward. I'd love to post it.

You can find an in-progress Gregg Spence discography here.

You can read about the various Gregg Spence benefit shows that took place over the course of 1999 here.

You can view video of Gregg performing "Nineteen" and "Head Above Water" here (RealPlayer required).

You can buy your own Rickenbacker guitar here. No doubt they still carry them in blue...

In 1990, when Chris Rue and I were editing Nexus, we published another Gregg Spence poem entitled "Beat Poetry for Beginners," which is less a poem than an excuse to poke fun at Allen Ginsberg wannabes. Jen Cook (of COLAVISION) and some other characters later took the title of this poem as the name of their band (which never recorded anything and played, as far as I know, only one show -- but I was there, and Gail still has their sticker in her diary). I still have Gregg's typed and signed manuscript of this poem -- will post some time.

take care


Friday, February 1, 2008

Off-Site: NEW BOMB TURKS on Dayton & Ohio (1994)

Heh... Here's an excerpt from an interview with Columbus' NEW BOMB TURKS originally printed in Suburban Voice zine #36 (1994):
SV: Then there was a write-up awhile back in CMT about the Columbus, OH "scene." First of all, is there a Columbus "scene" and, second, did A&R people all of a sudden start descending on the city?

Eric: Oh, you wouldn't believe. Boy, just money flying in Columbus, OH, just like it always has. No...I would say there's more of a scene there than Dayton, which is the trendy one to talk about now but, at the same time, there's great record stores, there's a couple of good bars and there's cheap beer and there's always an influx of new students, young people. But, for the most part, it's like any city. It comes and goes.

Matt: I think if you took all the good bands from Ohio, you could probably have a scene the size of Boston or Seattle. If you take Guided By Voices, the Breeders, who don't really count because they just moved to Dayton, Brainiac and Afghan Whigs, Prisonshake, Cobra Verde, My Dad Is Dead. But if you take that and the Columbus bands, such as Gaunt and Greenhorn.

SV: Ohio's always had a lot of good bands, back to the Pagans and Rocket From The Tombs.

Eric: Ohio's fine, we're not putting down Ohio, necessarily, but for sheer masses of people - there's more people in NY, there's more people in Boston, there's more people, in Seattle. When people say, "oh, there's a scene in San Diego," it's like, when hasn't there been a scene in California? There's always tons of bands, there. It's hype. It's somebody looking for the next big thing.

Matt: It's taking a scene which is going to exist, normally, anywhere, and when you focus on a scene because one band's really good, a lot of bands will get signed from that area. The Breeders are good. Guided By Voices are awesome and Brainiac has gotten some good reviews, but, besides that, Dayton really doesn't...

Eric: I know people that live there. They say it sucks, there aren't any record stores.

Matt: Bob from Guided By Voices says there's no scene in Dayton.

Eric: And those guys have been around.

SV: It's just something people have to hype up, I guess.

Matt: There's always going to be a Boston scene, there's always going to be a New York scene, there's always going to be a Seattle scene.

Okay, I'm going to interject a few comments here (come on, I'm a law student! You can't expect me to just let others talk, can you? even if they were talking fourteen years ago and I'm just hearing it now...):

First, everything they say was true of Dayton then and is still true now (except the part about money flowing for bands here -- that ended long ago).

Second, yes for a brief period in the mid-'90s, Dayton was the place for bands to be (although I was living in Columbus at the time, so I missed the big sign-o-rama that went on here), and we should all thank Jim Greer and his series of articles about Dayton in Spin magazine for that. And by "thank," I mean... well, I'm not sure what I mean, but I know I don't mean "thank." It was a pretty surreal and fucked up time for this town when it was suddenly supposed to be Seattle or something. I didn't get it then, and I still don't get it now. Don't get me wrong, I think a lot of great music has been made here, but it was all done in spite of Dayton, not because of it. The essence of Dayton is that it's a place one should strive to escape from. That brief period during which the national press convinced the music listening public that Dayton was some sort of musical mecca has got to be one of the greatest examples of journalistic con-artistry ever perpetrated. Hat's off...

Finally, I guess I do want to dispute the allegation that there were no good record stores here. I don't know who Eric was talking to, but they were wrong: Second Time Around, Renaissance, Gem City, Trader Vic's, and then there was that little record store Ken Gross opened near Hauer Music on Patterson... fuck... can't remember the name right now. Of course, only Second Time and Gem City still exist today (and are really shadows of their former selves now), but in 1994 there was no shortage of places to get good records.

You can read the entire interview here if you want to.

The same site also has an amazing PDF archive of indie rock zines from the '80s including Flipside, HeartattaCk!, MaximumRockNRoll, and Suburban Voice. I'm sure I'll be mining these occasionally for information (especially the Maximums, which probably have a lot of good info in the old "Scene Report" sections) and will report highlights as I find 'em.

take care


UPDATE (4-13-2011): As of this posting, Gem City Records no longer exists. The old space closed some time last year. However, it was taken over by Omega Records, another Dayton-owned chain that I am chagrined to admit I know almost nothing about. Still, they've done pretty good things with the old space. In particular I point the reader toward the tremendous amount of vintage vinyl available there for incredibly low-low-LOW prices!